Student-Led Conferences: Helping Children Lead

Students and parents at student-led conferences
At Athlos Academy, student-led conferences take the place of traditional parent-teacher conferences. These conferences help students take ownership of their learning as they honestly reflect on their progress, discuss their successes and challenges, and set goals for the future.

What is a Student-Led Conference?

A student-led conference is a meeting in which the student reports to parents and teachers on the progress of his or her education. This is done using portfolios containing artifacts from all three Athlos pillars of performance. The portfolios are shared with parents as evidence of growth.

  • A typical Athlos student-led conference agenda includes:
  • Greeting and introduction
  • A general statement that explains the goal of the conference and what to expect
  • Relative artifacts, reflection, and goals related to the Prepared Mind, Healthy Body, and Performance Character pillars
  • A closing and invitation for parents to ask questions

The coordinating teacher does everything possible to help answer questions and ensure that the 15–20 minute meeting happens with success.

What Does a Student-Led Conference Look Like?

Watch how a parent noticed the difference student-led conferences made for his son in school and at home.

Why Student-Led Conferences?

Traditionally, parent-teacher conferences consist of parents meeting with teachers with or without the student to discuss the progress and needs of their child in school. For years this process has been the norm, but often feels rushed and unsatisfying to families.

Student-led conferences are a growing trend in schools and offer a new perspective on learning. Instead of the child sitting quietly while parents and teachers determine his or her path in education, the student not only joins the conversation, but leads it. This way, students learn to take ownership for their education.

As more schools implement student-led conferences, the supporting evidence continues to compound. “It is amazing to hear students talk about strengths in student-led conferences, but also weaknesses and how they know just what to work on,” said one teacher at Athlos Academy teacher.

“Listening to my child at student-led conferences showed me how powerful it can be if the student understands what they are learning in school.” – Athlos Parent

Student-Led Conferences Are Learning Opportunities

Student-led conferences open learning opportunities for students that wouldn’t otherwise be achieved through a traditional way. They create a safe environment for the student to learn and develop communication skills such as speaking, listening, and receiving constructive feedback. They help children realize that they can be more communicative about their successes and challenges in school.

As we take advantage of every opportunity to place children in the driver’s seat of their own education, students get a head start on their foundation of confidence, self-worth, and other important performance character traits that will give them an edge to succeed in life.



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